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Quite a December Ride!

by on December 4, 2012

It looks like I’m well on my way in pursuit of another R-12 Award (at least 1 200k rider over 12 consecutive months).  Yesterday’s ride made 5 in this series, a total of 19 completed. But I get ahead of myself.

On Saturday, looking at the forecast for a gorgeous Monday, and knowing I needed to take a little time off work, I decided to ride the Sailing to Solomons 200k, a ride I last did in August of 2011.  I put word out on the SPP email list, and shortly Clint said he would join me.  It turns out his wife had commented about how nice it was going to be on Monday and that he should ride.  Apparently she said that she though I would probably be willing to ride with him if he went.  When Clint saw my email, he was in.

We were ready to go at the planned 7:00 am start time, and pushed off within seconds of the clock turning over.  It was about 45° F and within a short distance we could tell that the sunrise was going to be beautiful.  During the first miles of these long rides, it is not uncommon for some little thing to need to be adjusted or some kind of stop to be made.  My reflective belt popped open and the trailing section threatened to get caught in my rear spokes.  At about mile 12, Clint had a front flat, and although we could not locate the leak in the old tube or find the sharpie in the tire, the replacement tube held the rest of the ride.

Riding through horse country in some gently rolling hills on this warm December morning, we marveled at the fog lying in the valleys and watched as the world woke up and moved off to school & work.  We were stopped by one school bus all day.  I thought it would be more.  The school bus driver seemed to be surprised that two cyclists would stop for his red flashing lights and tried to wave us along.

Clint announced that he was getting hungry, and so we stopped at about mile 36 at a Starbucks where I had a coffee and a cinnamon roll and he had a “peppermint mocha” and a breakfast sandwich.  It was also time to shed some layers, since it was rapidly warming up.  Leg coverings, toe covers, wind vest, long fingered gloves, & head/ear warmers were all shed.  We kept the arm warmers on for a few more miles.   Between my front bag and my pockets, I had just enough storage space for all this ballast, for that’s what it was the rest of the ride.

The ride south to Solomons and the turn around point is mostly on wide shouldered highways with gentle rolling hills … and yet mostly feels like it is downhill.  It can be pretty fast.  For instance, on one 20 mile stretch, we averaged between 18-19 mph.  That really felt good.  It was not unusual to look down and see 23-25 mph as we are pedaling along.

I was really starting to feel the sciatica pain in my left leg after about 40 miles into this ride.  At first I thought I might be cramping, but the pain was different.  We pushed on, got to the information control in Solomons before 11:00 and turned north for the trip back home.  Where the ride south feels like it is mostly downhill, the ride north is quite different.  It feels mostly uphill AND we mostly are on back country roads.  That means that the hills are steeper and much more frequent.  Remember, this is on the last half of the ride.

We topped off water bottles in Solomons, and headed toward Chesapeake Beach.  I passed the places I remember where I had bad cramping and my legs were fine … except for the sciatica.

I had earlier experienced some Garmin issues.  My Garmin suddenly paused, while I was moving quickly, and I lost some recorded distance.  On the way to Chesapeake Beach, both Clint and I had identical Garmin tracking issues … at exactly the same time.  We figured it had to do with problems tracking the satellites, and I believe that to be exactly the reason.  I later discovered that my wheel magnet was not located in the right place to keep the speedometer going properly when there was a temporary GPS issue.  Clint doesn’t use the wheel magnet, and relies only on GPS.  Note to self: Check the wheel magnet more often.

We moved up and down, and while not breaking any speed records, made it to Chesapeake Beach around 1:30 pm.  Along the way, we looked for deer in the fenced in place we’ve seen them before, but it was evidently siesta time.  We stopped at McDonald’s.  Clint had wanted food for at least 10 miles.  I putzed around with my bike after snarfing down some food, and finally got the bike to shift properly into the small chain ring.  This bike has given me nothing but fits with that since I bought it.  I really wanted the small chain ring for the hills that were ahead.

Whether it was the food sitting in my belly or dehydration or some other reason, once we passed the info control at mile 103, I could swear we had to cover every mile as if we were riding in mud.  Time stood still.  My ability to maintain the speed I wanted was limited.  With about 10 miles to go I got some very severe cramps in my thighs.  I couldn’t move my leg.  We stopped, I popped more e-caps, chased it with diluted Gatorade, stretched, and climbed back on the bike with less than a 2 minute stop.  We kept going, eventually picking up the pace once again.  Turning onto Davidsonville Road was entering the home stretch and once again the speeds came up over 20 mph and there was a quick finish to a nice warm day.

We finished in 9 hours, 15 minutes.  Not the greatest time in the world, but one that let us enjoy the day.  Rolling time was 7 hours 34 minutes, meaning we were off the bike 1:41. That’s a little more than usual.

thI recall seeing 6 banana peels.  (I count them on SD2S rides).  There was a lot of road kill, including skunk, raccoon, fox, and squirrel.  We observed a person felling a large tree, groomsmen working horses, a lot of motorcyclists, at least half a dozen cyclists (including a person pushing a mountain bike up a hill), and a lot of curious people at our stops.  At the end of the ride, a guy proudly guessed that we had ridden 25 miles.  (Did I look that fresh?)  We let him know it had been 128 miles and he had a little problem wrapping his head around that number.

This Ride: 129 miles
Month: 129 miles
2012: 5,632.6 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 19,486.2 miles

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From → Cycling

2 Comments
  1. I have a very different recollection of that route the last time we rode it together… with Clint… in December.

  2. John Zenter permalink

    I have bouts with pain in hip , butt and right leg….feels real bad at times
    I resist paying medical professionals for their opinion and rely on walking
    it off , at times it feels like the bone pops out of the socket , and the strong
    butt muscles roll overlap into charlie horse type pain …… makes walking painful ,
    sleeping almost impossible , but after a few days rest and hot bath therapy
    seem to relax the tension and all is good ….
    I have to wonder why this happens , and how it develops ? Two theory come
    to mind :
    #1 I ride Speedplay pedals and on occasion it is hard to release the muscles
    in the butt / hip twist in this maneuver and if unable to release in time ,
    a fall ensues and a landing on the hip / butt muscles or bones

    #2 Riding on a seat that is too narrow and too hard cause numbness and
    swelling of butt muscles

    Pushing too hard too early into a long ride ? Got a Compact or Triple crankset ?

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